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Tony Hayward, BP CEO: Gulf Oil Spill 'Relatively Tiny'

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Don't worry about that pesky oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP CEO Tony Hayward says: It's "relatively tiny" compared to the "very big ocean."

Hayward launched this novel defense of the worst spill in U.S. history during an interview with the Guardian that deserves a full read, especially with BP fighting the Obama administration's push to make the company pay the full tab for cleanup costs. The BP chief executive acknowledged for the first time that he expects his future with the company to be "judged by the nature of the response" to the current crisis; this may help explain his stream of delaying tactics and excuses.

"We will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when," Hayward told the Guardian. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

Before calling the oil spill analogous to the Apollo 13 flight and comparing it favorably with a deadly 2005 BP rig explosion in Texas, Hayward said BP is "increasingly confident" that they'll find a way to stop the oil flow, and that the company has already prevented significant amounts of oil from reaching the shore.

BP's CEO isn't alone in downplaying the effects of the spill. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) told the Associated Press his state is ready for tourism dollars -- just don't get too close to the water while waterskiing.

"We don't wash our face in it, but it doesn't stop us from jumping off the boat to ski," Barbour said.

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